LAWAS (Dec 9): Political parties should not be obsessed with campaigning via Facebook and neglecting other social media platforms if they want to attract the interest of the younger generation.
According to Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota in the United States of America, Dr Nuurrianti Jalli, political parties should branch out beyond reaching millennials or the older generation on Facebook.
She said this after observing the early days of the election campaign, which started on Dec 6 after nomination day, and pointed out that communication strategists must be spot on in targeting their audience for an effective social media campaign.
“If politicians want to attract the younger generation, they should also use other social media that are more attractive to them such as Twitter, Instagram and TikTok,” she said.
Nuurrianti, who is an expert in media and information warfare, said that communication strategy officers in the 12th State Election have to be spot on in picking the right platform for the most effective campaigning due to the ban on physical political rallies except in areas with low internet coverage.
She noted that while social media campaigns were important, ‘on-the-ground’ campaigns were still necessary especially for those living in constituencies where internet access is lackluster.
“However, it is undeniable that Facebook is still the main place for political discourse as many Sarawakians are on Facebook, especially those from the millennial generation and above.”
She said that in her analysis of the keyword ‘GPS SArawak’ from Nov 6 to Dec 6, there were 850 public submissions using the keyword on Facebook, with 19,306 interactions including comments, reactions, and shares.
The study showed that GPS dominated the narrative on this platform, and sentiments towards Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg’s standing has remained positive despite taking flak from the opposition.
“On keywords ‘Abang Jo’ and ‘Abang Johari’, there were 1,053 posts about him in Facebook, where it attracted 55,548 interactions from users.
“There were also many posts on Facebook from the opposition, but the narrative is still dominated by the GPS coalition,” she said, adding that private Facebook groups that are critical of GPS has minimal impact as these are not in the public domain.